"I know where I stand now," he said, looking with friendly eyes from one of the police-detectives to the other. "I'm sorry I got up on my hind legs, but you birds coming in and trying to put the work on me made me nervous. Having Miles knocked off bothered me, and then you birds cracking foxy. That's all right now, though, now that I know what you're up to."Nothing says good ole Americana like Dashiell Hammett's 1920s detective novel The Maltese Falcon.
Tough Sam Spade never knew how it all would unfold when the beautiful and mysterious Miss Wonderley walked into his detective agency asking for help to find her sister. When his fellow detective and business partner Miles Archer decides to follow a man Miss Wonderley identifies as the reason for her sister's disappearance, Spade never realizes that the case he takes would result in his partner's murder and a chase for an historical artifact that carries a legend centuries old.
This is just how I like my rainy day weekends. With shady characters like Gutman and Cairo, it's only Sam Spade and his code of honor, along with his tough-talking, level-setting secretary Effie who will always keep him on the straight and narrow. Dashiell Hammett's story is slick and savvy old-time detective noir and I loved every moment of it. This is what later novels of tired and smart detective stories are based on, and the formula that Hammett creates will remain timeless. After all, who doesn't love a good story of figuring out how to get the prized treasure and falling in love, all while never once breaking any ethics? I know I sure love it.
When I took a deeper dive into Dashiell Hammett's history, I found that he's just as interesting as the stories and characters he invented. After he dropped out of school at fourteen-years-old, he worked a variety of jobs before he got a job at the world-famous detective agency, Pinkerton's. Serving in both World Wars, Hammett began to write about sleuthing and was one of the major players who set the foundation for great mysteries. I mean, when you think about it, before there was some dude named Dan Brown, Dashiell Hammett was already crafting the art of true detection and legendary treasures. Sounds pretty good to me, and I think I might stick with this time period a little while longer.
I'm all about picking up The Thin Man next. Dashiell Hammett has just the right way to sweep me up into another time and place.
"We begin well, sir," the fat man purred, turning with a proffered glass in his hand. "I distrust a man that says when. If he's got to be careful not to drink too much it's because he's not to be trusted when he does."Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Vintage Books, a division of Random House
Release Date: 1929
FTC Disclosure: Straight off my shelf, personal copy.
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